The Best Lawn Grass for Clay Soil

Clay soils are commonly located in the southeast regions of the United States, although they are not unique to just one area. This type of soil can be difficult to grow many types of plants in, as they are made up of tiny particles that cling together and hold water, therefore creating effects of overwatering and root rot. To determine how much clay is in our soil, take a handful of your soil and squeeze it together, then release your fingers and see if the soil is still in a ball. The more clay it has, the more solid and less-brittle it will appear. Both warm and cool season grasses can grow in clay soil, depending on location.

Bermuda and Zoysia

Bermuda and Zoysia grasses work best in Zone 3 of the United States. These warm season grasses are best planted in the spring or early summer. Bermuda grass is the most common grass that grows easy and without lots of maintenance once established. It can also become a thick, quality turf when properly maintained, but it has very poor shade tolerance. Zoysia grass becomes a thick turf once established, but it can be expensive and slow to do so. It works well in clay soil because of the water content that the clay holds, which does not affect zoysia as badly as other grasses. Both grasses work best when planted from seed or sod.

Tall Fescue and Ryegrass

Tall Fescue and Ryegrass are cool season grasses that grow best in Zone 2 of the United States, especially throughout Eastern/Central Southeast and Texas. There are two types of fescue grass: fine and coarse. This grass was originally used in fields, but the fine varieties work well as turf. Ryegrass needs to be reseeded each year and is often used for overseeding the dormant warm season grasses in fall. It has quick establishment and germination. Both grasses work well when planted from seed or plugs.

Kentucky Bluegrass and St. Augustine

Kentucky bluegrass and St. Augustine work best in planted in areas with regular fertilization, but both are susceptible to disease and may require lots of maintenance. St. Augustine grass is used often in the south from Florida and along the Gulf Coast states as far as Texas, but needs to be grown in more southern regions. Both grasses usually need to be established through sod or plugs.

Keywords: clay soil grasses, lawn care tips, picking grass seed

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.